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Hello there, now that my Warriors of Chaos army is pretty much finished I've turned my eye towards Vampire Counts because I like the look and theme of the army. I am a competitive player though, and I want to build a powerful list above all. As I have never faced Vampire Counts but only read the Army Book and on this forum, please comment if there is something amiss with this list that I am not seeing now.
I have not bought any models yet, so there is room to change anything in the list. I would also appreciate input on how to expand the army to higher points values, first 1500 and then onward.
Vampire Lord 310 pts
The Flayed Hauberk
Talisman of Preservation
Forbidden Lore (Lore of Light)
40 Crypt Ghouls xxx pts
These will be run in a horde formation 10x4.
20 Grave Guard 335 pts
Banner of the Barrows
These will be run in a 7x3 formation for great frontage.
4 Blood Knights 285 pts
Standard Bearer, Musician
Royal Standard of Strigos
Now, the Vampire Lord goes with the Grave Guard unit and buffs them with Timewarp and Speed of Light as well as keeping them, well... alive with Invocation of Nehek. This units is a classic deathstar, and if both the buffs are active we are looking at 20 str 6 attacks with killing blow that will hit almost anything on a 2+, in addition to the attacks of the Vampire who will then also be buffed and provide 5 str 5 attacks at I10 Always Strikes First.
What I would like would be something that makes miscasts less dangerous so that I can afford to risk using more dice to cast the important spells. Maybe with greater points allowance (I can now only spend 312.5 pts on the Lord) I could include the Earthing Rod, but I would probably prefer something more effective.
Warhammer Fantasy: Warriors of Chaos, High Elves
Warhammer 40k: Eldar, Space Marines, Orks
Well, VC's are stuck with a pretty basic build for high-level competitive play... Basically you're going to look towards something like;
Vamp Lord w/MotBA's + forbidden lore + extra magic Lv, flayed hauberk, WS Hat, Crown of Damnation.
*joins unit* 25-30 Skeletons w/full command.
- the classic bunker general. Stays well out of combat, safely behind your main fighting line and uses his magic + the WS Hat (helm of commandment) to toss out his WS where needed. Beware of units which can easily run rings around your flanks, and units which can pop up behind your bunker!
Wight King BSB w/Drakenhof Banner + Vampire Thrall w/fighty loadout.
*joins unit* 30-40 Grave Guard w/great weapons, full command, barrows banner.
- this is your deathstar. Sadly, it's the only worthwhile hitty thing in the VC book right now that's actually viable!
2x units of 40+ Ghouls w/Ghast.
- add however many more ghouls you need to hit your required core mins. Overall, it's far better to run hordes with VC's as opposed to MSU's because of how 'unstable' works. You're almost always going to field less units than anyone else will because of how over-costed all our stuff is.
- They're pretty damn good for their pts overall, (especially for VC's who are hurting for unit variety right now!) but they'll still go down to focused attention. They support the ghouls quite well, and can also be used to help keep your flanking units moving, (as they have the 'Vampire' rule), and/or can also be used for chasing down annoying crap like fast cav/war machines.
Add for flavour;
- Fell Bats. Our best war machine hunters & screening unit. Their larger base size is no longer a liability against war machines either, and they'll do the job much better than the craptastic dire pups.
- Black Knights. A small unit of 6 run 3x2 isn't that costly, and when carrying the Hellfire Standard, can offer us a decent & manouverable unit to go after regening nasties like abombs or hydras.
- Black Coach. If you're not too concerned with it occationally sucking up your own dice, this guy is golden! The coach gets rediculous pretty quickly now, and again makes a good supporter to your ghouls. (who otherwise lack punch against armoured units of 4+ or better...)
The Other 'Riskier' Deathstar:
The other deathstar approch VC's have is known as the Bloodbus, which basically looks something like;
Vamp Lord w/Red Fury, Infinite Hatred, Dreadknight, Blood Drinker, Dragonbane gem (or Dragonhelm), 'instert other item if wanted'.
Wight King BSB w/Drakenhof Banner
8+ Blood Knights w/Full command, Strigos or Razor Standard + Balefire Spike for the Kastallan so you have a bit of burny goodness!
Sure it's not subtle in any way, but there's very little that can hold upto a charge, especially if you buff the unit with say a vanhel's danse or other augment spell/s... The downside being you only have 1 rank at best, so the enemy will likely be steadfast, and you need to charge!
Still, the Lord alone makes the unit almost indestructable as every time he inflicts an unsaved wound, you can heal a wound to the unit or either character! The Lord is made all the thougher through a 2+ ward vs burny attacks or else his 4+ regen from the banner...
Anyways, hope this helps,
So basically you need to focus on having ONE deathstar, since if you try to bring two strong units they will individually not be strong enough?
What would you recommend for lower points values like 1250 - 1750 ? Or do you consider VC unplayable at that points limit because you can't have all the buffs you mention then?
I thought perhaps that the Vampire Lord would be safe in the Grave Guard unit with the 1+/4++ save if I have a Champion there to take challenges. The great advantage of that would be that he can cast Timewarp on just his own unit then, instead of trying to cast it one everyone. That means that he can keep up with their speed as they ram the enemy lines in turn 2 or so.
For flank guards then, how do you think Cairn Wraiths fare? I think because they are ethereal they could be roadblocks for flankers without magical weapons and such. But perhaps the enemy just tends to blast them away with damage spells? Or should you just raise zombies? (but what I hate about that is that you give away 50 VP when one of those zombie regiments die, silly since they are supposed to be expendable as S_it).
Warhammer Fantasy: Warriors of Chaos, High Elves
Warhammer 40k: Eldar, Space Marines, Orks
At lower pts values, it's very difficult for VC's to put up a highly competitive list because our units are so badly over-costed beyond those ghouls/GG...
Vargulfs make for the ideal reare choice in lower pts levels, though wraiths can be epic-win against certain armies who lack easy access to unit-wide magical attacks! However, the likes of skaven, high elves, dwarfs, other VC's, wood elves, bretonnians & especially daemons can make a huge mess of our ethereals...
The vargs though when used well or even as a distraction are pretty cost efficient. They'll murder war machine crews and can tackle most fast cav units and/or put some hurt onto missile units. Their thunderstomp also makes them solid supporters for units like ghouls who might otherwise just bounce off 4+/3+ saves.
Light magic is epic win for VC's!!! Next to our own VC lore, it's easily the best in terms of overall synergy with our army. I always like to run my casting phase by throwing out a Speed of Light, followed by Net of Amyntok on a dangerous enemy unit (especially an unit hiding an enemy caster if possible!) and then throw out the Timewarp... Of corse, you'll need a decent winds roll and/or a MotBA's power to ensure you've got the dice for that! But it can make a for a killer phase when you pull it all together.
The real beauty is if you were to drop the blood knights and instead take a vargulf + necromancer w/vanhel's danse! Now your opponent is faced with the possibility of letting say a WS10/I10 buff go so he can stop say the net or especially timewarp, meanwhile you're holding onto a trump card of an arguably 'better' timewarp with a re-castable danse! (magical charge or ASF + re-rolls in combat)
Some VC players swear by their wraiths & spirit hosts as being their best flank protectors, but then I find there's just as many who find them to be expensive pts sinks, so I guess the only thing to do is give them a shot and see how they work for you?!
Zombies works well when raised to re-direct a dangerous unit for a turn and/or to completely block line of sight for war machines/gunlines... Giving up 50vp's say 3 or 4 times over a game is *much* better than seeing your 450+ pts grave guard unit go down to concentrated fire! (or even give up those 50vp's if it'll mean your vargulf gets into support a vital combat before he's shot down...)
The one bright spot with zombies - they're dead simple to raise! Even with just a raise dead + 2x invocations, you should have a unit between 15-27 models! It should at least keep a missile unit or two busy for a turn...
Overall, VC's get far more competitive as the pts totals increase, unlike armies such as Warriors who can be insane at lower pts, or say skaven & daemons who scale well at any pts value...
We're simply unbalanced right now because of 8th's changes, but we'll eventually get our new book which will address our current problems!